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Practice in crisis town closed suddenly after inspection

A GP practice in Plymouth has closed suddenly following a CQC inspection.

Inspectors visited Barton surgery last week unannounced and took ‘urgent enforcement action’ to protect patients due to ‘serious concerns’, according to CQC officials.

However, the practice website informed its almost 3,000 patients that the surgery is now closed until 25 November.

It also said more information for patients will follow ‘in due course’ but directed patients to 999 or NHS 111.

Devon CCG has confirmed the temporary suspension has been placed from Monday 28 October to 25 November. It also stated that patients will be sent a letter tomorrow (31 October) on where they can go for treatment.

The CQC website said it will publish a full report when the review of Barton Surgery is complete.

CQC head of inspection for general practice Garry Higgins said concerns were raised about patient care, and the CQC has therefore taken urgent enforcement action.

He said: ‘As a result of serious concerns found by inspectors, the CQC has taken urgent enforcement action to protect patients who use Barton Surgery, Horn Lane, Plymstock. CQC inspectors visited the services on 24 October after concerns were raised about the standards of care provided posed to patients.

‘As the provider has the right to appeal the action that we have taken, it would be inappropriate for CQC to comment further.

‘In the meantime, CQC will continue to work closely with NHS England, Devon CCG and other local stakeholders.’

Devon LMC chair Dr Bruce Hughes said the LMC has been made aware and is supporting the practice.

He said: ‘The LMC has been made aware of the suspension notice issued by CQC under Article 31 and is working hard to support the contract holder and practice team.

‘The practice is suspended for 28 days when the CQC is expected to revisit the site with a view to lifting the suspension after any valid issues identified by them have been rectified.’

Devon CCG director of primary care Mark Procter said: ‘We have been informed by the CQC of the results of an unannounced inspection at Barton Surgery, Plymstock in Plymouth on Thursday 24 October.’

He added: ‘The CQC reported that as a result of serious concerns found by inspectors at the practice, they have taken urgent enforcement action to protect patients who use it.

‘They have also put in place a temporary suspension at Barton Surgery from Monday 28 October 2019 until 25 November 2019.

‘As a CCG, our priority is to ensure all patients registered with Barton Surgery in Plymstock have ongoing access to local GP services.

‘We are working closely with the practice and have issued advice and guidance to all registered patients so that they can continue to have access to any medical care they need. Patients will receive a letter on Thursday 31 October, with details about where they can go for advice and treatment.’

It follows the announcement of the closure of another Plymouth practice in September. Park View Surgery announced it will be shutting its doors on News Year’s Eve as it is ‘too small to be sustainable’, according to the CCG. 

Pressures faced in Plymouth in recent years has led to a fifth of practices handing back their contracts between 2015 and 2018.